Woods blunder costs sponsors $12 bn

Written by Press Trust of India | New York | Updated: Dec 31 2009, 05:13am hrs
Sponsors of golf superstar Tiger Woods have lost around $5 to 12 billion since reports of his extramarital affairs broke out, a new study has said. The study by the University of California examined stock market returns for the 13 trading days that fell between November 27, the date of Woods car crash and December 17, a week after the sports champion announced his indefinite leave from golf.

Two UC Davis economics professors, Victor Stango and Christopher Knittel looked at eight of his sponsorsAccenture, AT&T; Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf (Electronic Arts), Gillette (Proctor and Gamble); Nike, Gatorade (PepsiCo), TLC Laser Eye Centers and Golf Digest (Conde Nast).

Total shareholder losses may exceed several decades worth of Tiger Woods personal endorsement income, said Stango, noting that these are separate and much larger than the golfers own earnings, who before the scandal got about $100 million a year in endorsement income, more than any other athlete.

(This) pattern of losses is unlikely to stem from ordinary day-to-day variation in their stock prices, the researchers said, based on conclusions that the scandal reduced shareholder value in the sponsor companies by 2.3%, or about $12 billion.

The study also finds that three sports-related companiesPGA Tour Golf, Gatorade, and Nikehave been worst hit, experiencing a 4.3% drop in stock value, equivalent to about $6 billion. Our findings speak to a larger question of general interest in the business and academic communities: Does celebrity sponsorship have any impact on a firms bottom line Stango said.

Our analysis makes clear that while having a celebrity of Tiger Woods stature as an endorser has undeniable upside, the downside risk is substantial too.

The scandal exploded following an accident on November 27 when Woods crashed his SUV outside his Florida mansion sustaining minor injuries. His wife Elin had to use a golf club to break the back window of the SUV to rescue him.

The accident may have occurred following a fight with Elin accusing her husband of having an extramarital affair. Since then, ten women have claimed to have been involved with Woods, out of which eight have been named. Since the day of the accident, Woods has not been seen in public and US tabloids are reporting that this may be due to cosmetic surgery to repair a broken tooth following a fight with his wife who chanced upon a text message from one of the women he was having an affair with leading to the SUV crash.The only contact the international golf legend has made with the public is to post an apology on his website and ask the media to leave him alone.